Christian

As Pure As the Driven Snow

Have you ever wondered what that means?

To be “as pure as the driven snow” refers to the snow that has been blown into a drift where no one has walked through it. It is as clean as it was when it fell from the sky. 

King David cried out to the Lord, “Create in me a pure heart, O God.” (Psalm 51:10) And “God testified concerning him, I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.” Acts 13:22

I find it meaningful that David, a man who committed adultery and murder, would be God’s example of a man with a pure heart. This tells me that no sin, nothing we did in the past that has been forgiven, can keep us from being a person after God’s heart. “Wash me and I will be whiter than snow.” (Psalm 51:7)

What did God see in David’s heart? Does God see those things in my heart? In your heart?

No matter what we do outwardly that may look good to others, God sees our heart. If we are selfishly motivated, arrogant, or proud, God knows.

God sent the prophet Samuel to Jesse and told him, “I have chosen one of his sons to be king.” 1 Samuel 16:1

Samuel thought for sure that Eliab would be chosen, but the Lord said, “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.'” 1 Samuel 16:7

Finally, Jesse brought in David, his youngest son, who was tending the sheep. The Lord told Samuel, “Rise and anoint him; he is the one.” 1 Samuel 16:12

God chose David to be King, instead of King Saul. Saul didn’t obey God’s commands because he “was afraid of the people …and gave in to them.” (1 Samuel 15:24)

 He sacrificed offerings to the Lord. But Samuel said to Saul, “To obey is better than sacrifice.” (1 Samuel 15:22) We need to follow God’s commands, not motivated by what people think.

God knew that David was unafraid and would obey His commands. He knew that David believed the Promises. God knew David did not depend on his own strength and ability. He didn’t think too highly of himself, but was humble in heart. David said, “He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.” Psalm 18:17

David trusted in God and in His Word. He prayed, “Show me your way, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me.” (Psalm 25:4) We can get a glimpse into David’s heart when we read the Psalms he wrote. I want God to say that I am a woman after his heart. Don’t you?

In 1 Samuel 17:47 David said to Goliath, “All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s and he will give all of you into our hands.”This is what David believed in his heart, but he didn’t become this strong overnight.

“David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock,  I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” 1 Samuel 17:34-37

My prayer is that, just like David, our faith will grow stronger every time we put our trust in the Lord and depend on Him to win the battle.

“(David served) God’s purpose in his own generation.” (Acts 13:36) I believe that God is looking for people with a pure heart to accomplish His purpose today. Will he use me? Will he use you?

With Love, 

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This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

All Scriptures are NIV unless otherwise noted.

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Christian

Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself

Are you ever too hard on yourself? When confronted with our failures or weaknesses, we can feel like we’re not good enough, not measuring up. I struggle with this sometimes, especially when I have been too harsh with my middle school students. Why can’t I be more patient?

When we’re too hard on ourselves, we get discouraged and feel like giving up. Nothing could make Satan happier! Remember: Satan is “the accuser of the brethren.” and “a liar” (Revelation 12:10, John 8:44) But the promise of God is this:

“there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1 NIV

Sunday in church, I was feeling discouraged. We sang the song His Mercy is More. As we sang, the Holy Spirit comforted my soul like only He can. The lyrics say, “Our sins they are many. His mercy is more.”

I felt the love of God embrace me. God is not a hard taskmaster. He is loving, merciful, and kind. No matter how many times we mess up, He still loves us more than we will ever understand. Let the Holy Spirit, our Comforter, speak to your heart through God’s Word.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning;” Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV

His mercy and love are greater than all our failures, mess-ups, and shortcomings.

“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love.” 1 John 4:16 NIV

The Apostle Paul wrote, “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power …… to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge.” Ephesians 3:17-19 NIV   

Though the mountains be shaken
    and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
    nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
    says the Lord, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10

You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you. Psalm 86:5 NIV

This is our God. If you need His encouragement today, I urge you to listen to and sing, this beautiful song. I pray that it will comfort you as much as it comforted me. God’s love is reaching out to us every day.

Lord, may we have a deeper revelation of your love.

With Love, 

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This is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

realchristianwomen.blog 

Christian

Incredible Worship

Those bad Pharisees! I can’t believe how stubborn they were! I’m not like them! I’m A-OK! Now, those people at the church down the street, well …

We tend to see the faults in others before we see our own. Isn’t that true? I’m pretty sure that’s called pride. So as we examine what the Bible says about worship, let us look inward, at our hearts.

Jesus talked about two kinds of worshippers – “true worshippers” and those who “worship me in vain.” Do we really understand the difference? Let Jesus explain.

To the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus said,

“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” John 4:23-24 NIV

But when Jesus spoke to the Pharisees, He said,

“You nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:

 These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
 They worship me in vain;” Matthew 15:6-9 

The Greek word translated “worship” in the first passage is proskuneo. It means to prostrate oneself in worship, to reverence, to adore. 

To lie prostrate implies total surrender. Dictionary.com defines prostrate – “to cast (oneself) face down on the ground in humility, submission, or adoration”.

The Pharisees put on a show of reverence, but were not totally surrendered to God. It is interesting to note that Jesus did not use the same word for worship in Matthew 15:9. He used the word sebomai, which means to revere. There is a big difference. The Pharisees honored God, but they were not surrendered to His will. Their hearts were somewhere else.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” Romans 12:1

The Heart of Paul translation says,

“…offer your whole self to God with no strings attached.”

Let us examine our heart. What kind of worshipper am I? Is my worship pleasing to God? Am I surrendered to His will? Or, do I worship Him in vain? Do I give Him reverence, but cling stubbornly to my own will? Do I worry more about how I appear on the outside, or the condition of my heart?

Am I totally surrendered to Jesus?

“If we will only surrender ourselves utterly to the Lord, and will trust Him perfectly, we shall find our souls “mounting up with wings as eagles” to the “heavenly places” in Christ Jesus, where earthly annoyances or sorrows have no power to disturb us.”- Hannah Whitall Smith

“God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.”- Andrew Murray

With Love, 

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This is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

realchristianwomen.blog 

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2nd Photo by Rachel Pfuetzner on Unsplash

Christian

A True Story You Won’t Forget

Once there was a very popular preacher. So many people crowded into his church services, the church had to be enlarged. He frequently preached at other churches, as is often the case with popular ministers.

The preacher wrote beautiful Christian songs, that were also popular with churchgoers.  Soon be began a series of weekly prayer meetings in addition to regular services.

What made this preacher so special? I believe it was his life journey.

All the experiences in our past have shaped us into the person we are today. This preacher, at one time, was a vile sinner, cruel and having a hardened heart; a man without compassion or mercy.

Is it possible for such a person to have a complete turnaround? Can a hardened sinner become a saint? Can a depraved evildoer become a man (or woman) of God?

Ask the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and dried them with her hair,  anointing them with costly perfume. When an indignant Pharisee questioned Jesus about allowing this sinful woman (probably a prostitute) to touch him, Jesus said this:

 “I tell you that her many sins are forgiven, so she showed great love. But the person who is forgiven only a little will love only a little.” Luke 7:47

Read the full story HERE.

Have you guessed the identity of the preacher, yet? You won’t find him on YouTube or TV. He was born in 1725.

Before he gave his life to Christ, he was the captain of slave ships. I can only imagine the horror of such ships, but it is well documented that slave ships provided such wretched accommodations that many men, women, and children died before arriving at their intended destination. In the words of a former slave, Olaudah Equiano, “The shrieks of the women, and the groans of the dying rendered the whole scene of horror almost inconceivable.”

Who was this forgiven reprobate turned preacher-songwriter?

His name is John Newton and he wrote these famous words:  Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see.”

This celebrated hymn touches my soul because I know that what God’s grace and mercy did for John Newton, He did for me.

As you listen to Amazing Grace, thank God for his mercy and forgiveness. The more we have been forgiven, the more we love Him. That’s what Jesus said.

“Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18 KJV

“He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” Titus 3:5 NIV

With Love, 

AA55AA1F-EA36-49A9-92BE-41FD67348618

This is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

realchristianwomen.blog 

Photo by Tomas Jasovsky on Unsplash

From Amazing Grace: The Story of John Newton by Al Rogers

Christian

I Teach Kids, God Teaches Me

Some people just don’t deserve what you did for them! They’re so ungrateful!

Today, I gave a science test at the Junior High School. I thought the kids would do really well because I had worked hard to prepare them. I created a Jeopardy Game for them to play for review (which wasn’t free, by the way). And I spent considerable time thinking of a better way to explain the concepts. You could say I gave it my all, above and beyond! I knew they would do well.

Only they didn’t!

Some of them were bubbling in random answers without reading the question! (Are you kidding me?!) 

Others were looking out the window and thinking about something else. (What’s wrong with these kids?!)

I knew that most of them had not studied and didn’t care if they passed or not. By the time I gave the test to 4 different classes, each set of grades worse than the class before, I was angry and frustrated. (Why should I work harder than they do? I’m tired of this! I don’t care anymore! They can all fail for all I care!! I’m done!)

On the drive home, I mumbled, “Lord help me to have a better attitude.” (and not with a lot of passion).

Right away He reminded me of how patient He was with me when I didn’t care what He had done for me.

What can I say to that? He died for me, and I went about living like I didn’t know it, only I did know it. Yes, there was a time when I did this. When I was at my worst, I’m sure He had angels watching over me to keep me alive until I came to my senses. He was patient with me. He never stopped loving me. And He certainly never said, “I’m done with her!”

After today, I better understand His love, forgiveness, and mercy. He never said, “I don’t care anymore.” He just kept loving me, interceding for me, and calling my name. For this I am eternally grateful.

Let us follow His example, showing His love to those He puts in our path each day.

Scriptures

“David said to Gad, “I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into human hands.” 2 Samuel 24:14

“He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” Titus 3:5

“But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him…” Psalm 103:17 KJV

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 NIV

“Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high? He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap” Psalm 113:5,7 NIV

“He remembered us in our low estate. His love endures forever.”Psalm 136:23 NIV

“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” 1 John 4:16 NIV

“The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.” Psalm 145:9

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Jesus

With Love, 

AA55AA1F-EA36-49A9-92BE-41FD67348618

This is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

realchristianwomen.blog

Christian

My First Love

I was stopped in my tracks as I read the letter to the church in Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-6).

1″I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary … 6You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.”

It sounds like a strong church! But one thing is going to bring them down. What is it?

4 “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”

How had they changed? What things did they stop doing?

The Amplified Bible says, “… you have left your first love [you have lost the depth of love that you first had for Me].”

When Jesus was asked, “What is the greatest commandment?” he replied,

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” Matthew 22:37

I began to ponder this. How do we love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind? Would we even know if we, like the Church at Ephesus, left our first love? I’m sure the Ephesians thought they loved the Lord with all their hearts. After all, look at all the great things they were  doing. But something must have changed.

I have searched the Scriptures, prayed, and asked other Christians, seeking the answer to this question: What does it mean to love the Lord with your whole heart?

Is it an emotion? An act of our will? Obedience? Praise?

Is it possible that the Ephesians went about the activities of church life, minus the passion of one who has been forgiven? Did they forget how thankful they once were for His forgiveness and love?

I can only infer that as we go about the business of “church”, it is possible to do many good things, yet forget how we first loved Him.

Perhaps now we are busy doing (like Martha) instead of sitting at His feet (like Mary).

The importance  of “loving God with all my heart” has been on my mind for several weeks. I ask myself, Do I love Jesus with all my heart? And more importantly, what does Jesus think?

I started thinking about how I show love to my children. For one thing, I tell them – a lot!. So last night I started my prayer like this:

Lord, I love you. I love you with all my heart and soul and mind. Thank you for forgiving me of my sins. I remember how on fire I was for you when I first experienced the forgiveness that “washed me white as snow” and “removed my sins “as far as the east is from the west”.

 My heart was flooded with peace because the heaviness of my soul, the anguish of guilt vanished.. I remember how I devoured the Scriptures as I discovered your promises. Give me a heart like David, whose Psalms reflect his deep love for you …..

So let us think back to how we first loved Him. Let us ask ourselves, Do I tell Him that I love Him everyday? And let us ask Him to help us to never forsake the love we had at first.

Scriptures

 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,

    so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; Psalm 103:11-13

Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool. Isaiah 1:18 

With Love, 

AA55AA1F-EA36-49A9-92BE-41FD67348618

This is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

realchristianwomen.blog 

Christian

A Shepherd’s Perspective

“I have concluded based on my years of experience that sheep are stupid. Not just stupid but mind-numbingly stupid— sometimes I wonder how they manage to breath and eat.” Glenn Brunkow, Rancher¹

*********

I’m re-reading a fascinating book by Phillip Keller called A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23.² Keller was a shepherd for years and relates many things about sheep that most people don’t know.

The book is eye-opening and provides a deeper understanding of our relationship with the Lord, the Great Shepherd. It’s no accident he calls us His sheep!

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” Psalm 23 KJV

The shepherd watches over his sheep day and night. They cannot take care of themselves and they get into all kinds of trouble. They will drink polluted water, wander off and be attacked by a wild animals, get stuck in the same fence repeatedly, etc.

“He who watches over you will not slumber;” Psalm 121:3

Sheep are fearful, timid, and skittish. A rabbit hopping by suddenly can send them into a panic. But they calm down when the shepherd walks into view and they are comforted. So many times in my life, when I was in a panic, the Lord has comforted me and calmed my fears. That’s when I wonder how people who don’t know Him get through tough times.

We do “not want” because Jesus is always with us, in good times and in bad.  Our joy and peace comes from His presence in our life, not in what we have or the way life goes. We are content to be led by Him, doing His will.

One thing I found interesting is the fact that like humans, some sheep refuse to follow the shepherd and instead do their own thing. (Ouch!)

This can result in lots of serious problems for the sheep, problems they would have never experienced – if only they had followed the shepherd. (I think this parallel is pretty obvious!)

Keller tells how he would lead his sheep to a clean, clear stream and a stubborn ewe would go off and drink from a polluted, parasite-infested puddle instead. Isn’t that what some people do? We choose the unclean ways of the world instead of the ways of God.

“Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.  By this he meant the Spirit,” John 7:37-38 NIV

A good shepherd provides good forage for the sheep, lush green vegetation, so that the sheep can have plenty to eat, grow, and thrive. However, some sheep will wander off and eat from barren, dry brush instead. Many times, we prefer to feed on the barren ground of the world around us instead of the peace and comfort that comes from dwelling in His Word and His presence.

The final parallel I want to share is the most extraordinary. Sheep must have plenty of pure clean water. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to lead them to a lush green field heavy with morning dew.

The sheep can keep fit and hydrated for months just by grazing right before dawn when the field is heavy with dew. The sheep feed heavily and are most content at this time of day. A good shepherd will make sure his sheep have this opportunity to drink in the “still waters” of dew.

“In the Christian life it is of more than passing significance to observe that those who are often the most serene, most confident and able to cope with life’s complexities are those who rise early each day to feed on God’s Word.” (Keller)

These are just a few of the many insights from A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by Phillip Keller.

I don’t know about you, but it gives me great comfort to know that I don’t have to be smart to thrive. I need only to follow Jesus, the Great Shepherd.

“We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6 NIV

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11 NIV

“If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.” Matthew 18:12-14 NIV

With Love, 

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This is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

realchristianwomen.blog 

¹https://www.agupdate.com/midwestmessenger/opinion/columnists/glenn_brunkow/the-questionable-intelligence-of-sheep/article_69540f07-7577-5559-bfde-a31ea95acc0c.html

²ISBN 0-310-26790-0 available on Amazon

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